Hong Kong Customs mounts operation to combat illicit cigarettes

Hong Kong Customs mounted a territory-wide operation codenamed “Hammer” to strike storage and distribution activities of illicit cigarettes from December 5 to today (December 7). A total of about 680 000 suspected illicit cigarettes with an estimated market value of about $1.8 million and a duty potential of about $1.3 million were seized.

Customs officers seized about 380 000 suspected illicit cigarettes in total from three industrial units in Cheung Sha Wan, a residential unit in Mong Kok, a residential unit in Wan Chai and on the street in Fanling from December 5 to today. During the period, Customs officers also intercepted two private vehicles and a light goods vehicle in Kwai Chung and Tin Shui Wai and seized a total of about 300 000 suspected illicit cigarettes.

During the operation, Customs officers arrested six men and two women, aged between 30 and 58.

The cases have been duly followed up.

Hong Kong Customs will continue taking stringent enforcement action against illicit cigarette activities.

Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, anyone involved in dealing with, possession of, selling or buying illicit cigarettes commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $1 million and imprisonment for two years.

Members of the public may report any suspected illicit cigarette activities to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

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